Vikings Stadium: Taller than Dome; retractable roof still option

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Architects and the Minnesota Vikings are expected to unveil preliminary designs of the new $975 million stadium on May 13, but new details about the structure are emerging.

A draft Environmental Impact Statement nearly 400 pages in length on Monday was made public by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, offering an early peek at what architects have in mind for the 65,000-seat project. Here's the press release.

Some of the descriptions of the planned multipurpose facility conjure futuristic – but vague – images: “a bold, iconic, geometric structure with long sloping, angular facets that are primarily directed toward the downtown Minneapolis skyline."

But the document includes some specifics: The stadium facade could be made up of a combination of metal panels, Kasota limestone (similar to what was used in the Target Field facade) and "curtain walls" that appear translucent when lit, the Star Tribune reports.

The document mentions ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, an architectural polymer, famously used at the Water Cube at the Beijing Olympics, MPR notes. (MPR has images of other structures where the material was used.)

The stadium’s much-discussed roof, which will be nearly 100 feet taller than the Metrodome’s highest point, could be permanent or retractable, the newspaper reports.

Stadium authority Michele Kelm-Helgen said the draft EIS has a lot of options, and changes could be made. Options for a retractable roof and retractable walls or windows “are still in play,” she said, the Star Tribune reported.

If designers opt for a retractable roof, it would either move north/south with a maximum 680-foot-by-142-foot opening, or east/west with a maximum 345-foot-by-285-foot opening, the Pioneer Press notes.

A public comment period on the EIS document began Monday, and a meeting for public comment will be held May 22, the authority notes.

The new stadium is to be built on the site of the Metrodome, home to the Vikings since 1982, and it is expected to be ready for the 2016 NFL season.

Lawmakers are trying to cobble together a new plan to pay for the state's $348 million share of the stadium. State officials had planned to use tax money raised from new electronic pulltab gambling games, but those revenues have fallen far short of projections so far. Perhaps e-bingo is the answer, KARE 11 reports.

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